So, what’s the area around the Sundered Tomb like?
In the last post we determined it’s near Waymoot, which is the busiest and most populated of Cormyr’s settlements in the King’s Forest. Waymoot has had recurring troubles with trolls over the centuries, and is not far from an independent realm of Dryads (Aloushe) that owes no fealty to the Crown of Cormyr.
I have attached a map slice of the Waymoot area. The black bar on the left is 15 miles long.
This image is taken from a rough draft copy for a map of Cormyr I commissioned for my Cormyr sourcebook. I’m excited for it to be finished, and to get a hex overlay on it (at 6 mile intervals, and not at 5 mile intervals as I’d originally intended).
1. Waymoot itself is all about horses. The area around the settlement has been cleared sufficiently that horse ranches abound. Waymoot still produces wagons of excellent quality, and from its populace are drawn some of the best foresters, woodsmen and huntsmen to walk the King’s Forest. The temples to Tymora and Lliira still stand, as do the handful of inns, taverns and shops. Waymoot is still a travelers town; a necessary place to stop, but never to stay unless you already live there. The place is ruled by a King’s Lord (a person appointed by the King of all Cormyr to rule in his name, and to dispense the King’s justice and so on) from his or her sturdy keep, though I don’t know who the King’s Lord is in the year 1479 DR. Will have to make that one up.
2. Maybe someone like Myrmeen Lhal–herself a tough as nails ex-adventurer who came to rule over Arabel with an iron fist in the name of King Azoun IV after Gondegal the Usurper tried to turn Arabel into the capital of his own kingdom, and was driven out. (He ended up being transformed into so much worm food for a lich somewhere beneath the ruins of Myth Drannor, if I recall correctly.)
3. And then their are the trolls. Not just a problem for the internet, mind, but for all of Waymoot and the surrounding woods for as long as anyone can remember. The trolls came and went every few decades, but when the Spellplague re-wrote the rules of reality the trolls who’d largely abandoned the Prime for their ancestral home in the Feywild returned en masse. Besides, horseflesh tastes good–almost as good as human.
4. The trolls want to punish the fey-traitor dryads and their allies in Aloushe. The trolls had always tried to regain the dryad’s favor after the elves of the Wolf Woods won it away, and were doubly offended when the humans of Esparin (a self-declared human kingdom within the nominal borders of the Forest Kingdom that was conquered and absorbed centuries ago by Cormyrean forces) won the dryad’s favor after the departure of the elves.
5. The defeat of the last great Troll King by a human King’s Lord of Waymoot (Lord Filifar Woodbrand) some 150 years past seemed to seal the deal for the trolls. The King’s Lord won away the magical strength of the Troll King (and he used it to lift a wagon into the air and dump out the thieves hiding in it, in one instance), and the surviving trolls slunked back into the woods and through the few remaining gates that led to their fey home. But a few remained. These trolls dared try and slay Lord Woodbrand in his advanced age–and they succeeded, taking the Troll King’s strength with them.
5. Anyway, the trolls who’ve returned to the King’s Forest are smart. The trolls plan long term, just like old Thauglorimorgorus the Black Doom did (this black dragon ruled the Wolf Woods before the elves came and ruined everything all those years ago) and they’ve a new Troll King who’s won the strength to lead its fellow trolls.
6. I don’t know anything about Aloushe. But I figure that the close, overlapping presence of the Feywild with the King’s Forest in the wake of the Spellplague has turned lose plenty of Feywild-based creatures into the King’s Forest, and that the Dryads of Aloushe and their allies are probably as much interested in keeping things calm and peaceful between the two worlds as Cormyr is. After all, the King’s Forest is the “tame” forest in Cormyr (as apposed to the far wilder and dangerous Hullack), and the Dryads are probably not interested in hunters, adventurers and greedy nobles using the excuse of Feywild beasts in need of slaying to cover their attempts to invade Aloushe and plunder its supposed “riches beyond imagining” (this according to one wild-eyed adventurer leader, who was never seen again after departing Waymoot for the “fairy land” to the east). I don’t know who rules Aloushe. Not worried about it yet.
7. There’s the legend of the Sleeping Kings, too: The idea that somewhere under or near Waymoot lies the sleeping ghosts of all the former Kings of Cormyr. They rest until a time of great need, when the danger to the Forest Kingdom will draw them like moths to a flame so they can hack and slay whatever doom imperils the land they once ruled.
8. This legend pervades daily life in Waymoot, inasmuch as everyone knows some version of the legend, and all the many travelers who pass through Waymoot hear the differing versions and pass them on further up the road and throughout the rest of Cormyr.
9. And wouldn’t you know, you picked a map with tombs in it. That works. So, it’s not much of a stretch to suppose the free mage who’s put together an expedition of mages and mercenaries (heh…another name for D&D, that) could be looking for the Sleeping Kings. Maybe she’s heard more of the old song:
Bring me the key from dungeons deep,
Where undead knights a-rusting sleep,
That doth unlock the dragon’s door
And we’ll swim in gold forevermore!
(Volo’s Guid to Cormyr. Page 174)
…and she put two and two together, and it was enough for her to find the (now) Sundered Tomb.
10. Of course those lines of song refer to very real catacombs beneath Waymoot–these catacombs were used by the occupants of a long since torn down castle that once stood where Waymoot is now, and later by a dragon that hid itself in human guise–but sometimes verses get added and subtracted to songs, so who’s to say the free mage is wrong?
11. Anyway, I think the Sundered Tomb is just what the free mage and her allies assumed it to be: A tomb housing persons of royal blood–but of the line of Esparin, or possibly nobles of the vanished land of Espar, and the mages and mercenaries hoped to plunder wealth enough for each of their causes (greater power for the mage and her apprentices, and for the mercenary captain coin enough to build a true mercenary company).
Too bad for them.
Well, that’s all for now. Back at it tomorrow.